Thursday, July 30, 2009

Edubloggercon East July 28

Had a great day at Edubloggercon East. I think we hit 50 people this year. This is an unconference that is organized by Liz Davis and Lisa Thumann. Great work again this year ladies!!

It is such fun to get to meet people who you "know" only through the Internet. Participants put their twitter names on the name tags so we could spot our "friends". Lots of great conversation and information shared.

And thanks to my two knights in shining armor -- Dave and Jeff. I was struggling with the subway ticket machine and not only did they do battle for me, I also got a ride home out of the deal. Can't beat that!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

ALA 2009

ALA 2009 is over for me and I am still in a hotel waiting to go home. I made it to the airport this afternoon but then they needed people to bump so I volunteered. A free ticket is not to be turned down when I am not on a tight schedule.

ALA 2009 has been a bit of a disappointment for me. I usually come home charged up about new ideas and anxious to try things out. Not so this year. I spent a lot of time on the shuttle bus, in cabs or walking between venues. I missed meetings and sessions I wanted to attend. I had little time for the exhibits. I don’t remember it being so scattered the last time ALA came to Chicago.

As for the sessions I did attend, they were just OK but not the stuff of innovation. I learned nothing really new and much of my notebook is just blank pages. Maybe I have been coming to ALA for so long that I just know everything. No, that certainly is not it. I have a lot to learn. Maybe I just chose the wrong sessions to attend.

The exhibits were so crowded that I didn’t have a great experience during the short time I got there. I couldn’t get close to many of the booths. There were very few ARCs available which is probably a reflection on the economy. And did I mention the people? Lots of them. Everywhere. But just what were they thinking when they randomly stopped in the middle of crowded aisles to have a chat? I don’t remember seeing that happen so often in the past.

So here I sit knowing that my suitcases are closer to home than I and feeling very let down. Unlike many of the attendees I spoke with, this conference pretty much comes out of my own pocket. What did I get for my $1,000? I got to do some committee work for ALA. I got to attend some OK sessions. I don’t really think I got my money’s worth this year. As I spoke with others, I heard the same sentiments from them.

I don’t want to sound as if it was all a bust. I did get to see old friends and meet new ones. I was able to connect with vendors I wanted to talk with. I got to meet some wonderful authors. I will take these positive memories back with me even though I have little in the way of new ideas.

So, the next time ALA is in Chicago, I may just give it a miss. I will be at AASL in Charlotte and midwinter in Boston. Beyond that, I’ll have to rethink where I spend my conference dollars.